Modern Slavery – Reporting potential instances

Organisations in the waste and resource management industry have a moral and legal responsibility to raise awareness of modern slavery amongst their staff and it is important to know what to do if a potential victim is identified. Here we focus on how organisations report potential instances of modern slavery.

What is modern slavery?

Modern slavery is an umbrella term covering acts of slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labour as well as human trafficking. It ultimately involves one person or a group depriving another person of their freedom, for their own personal or commercial gain.

What responsibilities do businesses in the waste and resource management industry have?

The waste and resource management industry is at high risk of having instances of modern slavery due to the nature of the work particularly for waste streams such as household waste, WEEE, metals, textiles and plastics. Victims in the industry are typically male and often migrants who have difficulty communicating in English.

The Modern Slavery Act was passed by the UK Government in 2015 and is the first piece of UK legislation that focuses on the prevention of slavery and servitude. Under the Modern Slavery act, many businesses must prepare a slavery and human trafficking statement for each financial year, but the industry also has a moral responsibility to raise awareness and train staff to spot the signs.

What should you do if you suspect someone is a victim of modern slavery?

Do not cause a scene or confront someone you believe could be a victim of modern slavery as this will likely lead to increased harm for them. Instead, inform relevant authorities. In the UK, you have several options:

These organisations will work with you to ensure that the potential victim can be extracted from their situation safely and can access the national support mechanisms available to victims of modern slavery.

Next Steps

IPHR has launched a new toolkit in partnership with CIWM aimed to provide businesses with a best practice guide on how to address the risks, while safeguarding victims. Access the toolkit here.

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